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Unconventional Wisdom - 2013-14 Pittsburgh Penguins

We looked at some of the lesser used fancy stats and how our team looked over the past 3 season, but where do they stack up a month into the 2013-14 season?

Bruce Bennett

The first few weeks of the season we discussed some of the lesser known fancystats and looked at how the Pittsburgh Penguins stacked up over the past 3 seasons to get an idea of what we should expect going into this one. However, now we are a little over a month into the season and we can begin to see how the players are stacking up this year. Our first post looked at Goals vs Threshold, but there isn't a database that tracks it throughout the season so those numbers won't be available until the season is over. Our third post looked at Hockey Analysis Rating, but the creator David Johnson has been busy and the site has not been updated since October 25th, so that data is currently missing a number of key games. So for now we will take a look at Point Shares from Justin Kubatko of Hockey Reference.


The Offensive Point Shares are awarded to the player most responsible for contributing to the offensive aspects of the game, so it should come as no surprise that Crosby once again leads the way, although due to the mini-slump he has been on his is just tied for #4 in the NHL. Behind him, and tied for #16 in the NHL, is Kunitz. They are followed closely by Megna and Jokinen, and a bit further down Malkin and Dupuis. That makes sense because up until recently they were our Top 6, so our best 6 offensive contributors make sense there. Neal and Bennett, who one would have expected to be up there, have unfortunately had limited playing time due to injury and as such are currently near the bottom of the list with 0 OPS.

The next highest would have been a complete shock looking at last year's numbers, but Glass and Adams fall in next, followed by Sutter. Behind them we have Kobasew and Vitale, plus the aforementioned Neal and Bennett, with 0 OPS. The remaining forwards have negative OPS, Jeffrey, followed by Zolnierczyk, D`Agostini, and Conner. This again makes sense, as we have seen Glass, Adams, and Sutter leading the way as some of the best players of the team, sometimes even skating together as a 3rd line, with the remaining 4th line choices all being pretty much less than desirable options.

The D is unsurprisingly led by Letang who managed a couple of nice PP goals in his short time back, but quite surprising is that just behind him in Engelland. The next is Niskanen, then quite a ways down is Maatta, Orpik, and Martin, with Scuderi and Bortuzzo bringing up the rear as slightly negative. I would say it is odd that Bortuzzo is at the bottom of that list, but then since it is merely based on offensive contributions I suppose it makes sense.

If we don't take into account the time missed due to injury, then the raw score has Niskanen at the front, then Letang, and with Orpik, Martin, and Engelland tied. The remaining 3 D at the bottom of the list remain the same though. Likewise up front we see a few small changes, as Megna due to his limited playing time drops down to #6 behind Dupuis, Glass and Adams tied, and Jeffrey falls to dead last behind the limited exposure forward fill-ins.


Strangely enough the best Defensive Point Shares forward so far this year has been Kunitz. Next is Dupuis and Kobasew, with Crosby not too far behind. Then we have Bennett, Adams, and Megna, followed by Vitale, Glass, Sutter, Jokinen, and Malkin. The final five are all tied at 0 DPS, Jeffrey, Zolnierczyk, D`Agostini, Conner, and Neal. It is certainly not the list I would have expected based on past performance, but know that the team has no true Check line this year and they now tend to play the Crosby line against the opponents' top scorers it does make sense, and is satisfying to see, that they are amongst the most effective defensively.

On D we have Niskanen leading the way, he is currently #4 in the NHL, followed by Scuderi, and then Orpik, who is ranked #15 in the NHL. Behind them we have Martin and Maatta, and then a bit further down Bortuzzo, then Letang, and Engelland dead last with a 0 DPS. Considering how they have played this season these numbers certainly make sense, as up until Letang returned and Scuderi got hurt we had quite a solid complement of D.

As with OPS, if we look at the raw figures without adjusting for playing time the injured players drop down a bit, with Scuderi falling to #4 behind Martin, but the rest of the D remaining the same. Likewise up front the limited exposure players would be dropped a bit, with Kobasew falling below Crosby, and Bennett and Megna falling way down below Malkin.


Fleury has a commanding lead in Goaltender Point Shares, he is currently #15 in the NHL, which makes sense considering the hot start he was off to. Zatkoff, oddly enough, has 0 GPS. I would have just chalked that up to he is a backup and they lost his first two games, but then I remembered his 3rd game and his lone victory was a shutout, so it is still strange that he doesn't get any credit for that one. Of course its possible that he was at negative prior to that based on his blowout in Florida, but it still seems odd to be at a flat 0.


Overall Point Shares amongst forwards is quite close, with Kunitz who falls in at #16 in the NHL and Crosby who falls in at #5 in the NHL. And if you take Goaltenders out of the equation and look at just skaters Crosby jumps to #3 while Kunitz reaches #10. After them we have Megna and Jokinen, and then Dupuis and Malkin. As we saw above with the OPS this is the Top 6 we have been seeing lately, and the other two Neal and Bennett that we would expect to see up here have missed a lot of time through injury.

After them we have Adams and Glass, and then Kobasew, Bennett, and Sutter, with Vitale bringing up the rear as the last positive PS. Neal with his mere 5 minutes in the first game remains at a 0 PS, while the skaters below him all negatives, Jeffrey followed by Zolnierczyk, D`Agostini, and Conner. Once again this shows us what we expect to see, with everybody healthy we have a pretty solid lineup, with Jeffrey as a 13th and D`Agostini as a 14th getting quite limited playing time. Of course we haven't had everybody healthy, which is why the depth has been somewhat lacking of late.

On D Niskanen still leads the way despite falling off a bit as of late now that he isn't paired with Scuderi any longer. Then Letang and Orpik, followed by Scuderi and Engelland, and then Martin and Maatta, with Bortuzzo bringing up the rear with a 0 PS. Once again the most troubling aspect is that Bortuzzo is rated so low despite the fact that he looked like one of the best D out there most games. Of course he gets such limited playing time when he is in the lineup that its possible that the few bad plays stand out that much more and overshadow all the good he has accomplished.

And once more we note that when looking at the overall PS values without factoring in limited playing time for injured players we see a few distinct changes. The D swaps around to Niskanen, Orpik, Martin, Scuderi, Letang, Maatta, Engelland and then Bortuzzo. Up front we have Crosby, Kunitz, Jokinen, Dupuis, Malkin, Adams, Megna, Glass, Sutter, Kobasew, Vitale, Bennett, Neal, Conner, D`Agostini, Zolnierczyk, and Jeffrey.